Photo diary from flights around the Arctic

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Here are a few snaps from the MAMM field campaign (July 2012). We went flying on the FAAM research aircraft, kitted out to measure many gases, aerosols, and other meteorological parameters. The main aim was to search out Arctic sources … Continue reading

The Milky Way through a dust storm on a mountaintop

This is a beautiful time-lapse photograph sequence, taken by Terje Sorgjerd. I’d advise watching it on his vimeo page, so you can read about it too. It was taken on a mountain (3718m) in the Canary Islands, and captures some spectacular scenes of the Milky Way, cloud decks flowing over land and sea, a Saharan dust storm, and even some flowers and trees. So that should please astronomy geeks, metos, and people who simply like to look at beautiful scenery.

He’s also taken an aurora time-lapse, which is equally incredible. I shared it a little while back, but it was definitely worth watching a second time.

The White Stripes at the Wireless Festival, 14 June 2007

The White Stripes – Wireless Festival, Hyde Park, 14 June 2007

In contrast to everything about the Kings of Leon gig review, I’m going to write a short, sweet and utterly positive review of the White Stripes, who I saw over a month ago. Seeing the White Stripes live (a long time ambition of mine) is perhaps why the Kings of Leon seemed so average.

White Stripes White Stripes White Stripes

The White Stripes were deserved headliners at Wireless as they captivated the crowd with their simple yet complex sound. It has been said many times before, but the immense sound they make with only Meg on drums, Jack on his pimped-up retro guitar (and occasionally on keyboard) and his hell-sent (as opposed to heaven-sent) vocals is just plain unbelievable unless you hear it for yourself. It makes me wonder what the point of rhythm guitarists, bassists, keyboardists and general band members is? Then I realise that not every musician is capable of the instrumental tricks of Jack White, and I am convinced this is because he has sold his soul to the devil for his blues-rock guitar and vocal prowess.

According to the band, they do not write a set list but just go with the moment (in constast to the rigidity of the Kings). It works damn well too, I couldn’t tell that it was all unplanned. They played a mix spanning their whole decade, with highlights for me being: “Icky Thump” in all it’s crazed glory; a “Blue Orchid”/”Denial Twist” medley with guitar instead of keyboard on the latter; “Jolene” (by Dolly Parton), which is one of the most spine-tingling covers I have ever heard; and “Death Letter” (by Son House) being the other. Somehow, the Whites manage to make other people’s songs entirely their own. The other cover version in their set is a real crowd pleaser, with the crowd singing along (without the need of Jack) to “I just don’t know what to do with myself” by Burt Bacharach.

The whole set was totally absorbing and electrifying and I didn’t want it to end, which is the litmus test for a quality gig. My only quibble was that the big screens showed the live footage in red, white and (I think) black only, so that people at the back wouldn’t really see the band properly. I really hope this was a one-off because I’m going to see them from towards the back at the O2 arena it would suck to not see them on screen. They are going to look like they are made of lego (see my photos above) on stage so I wanna see them on screen!

The White Stripes put on the best musical performance I have seen in a very long time because the music pulses through their veins, and then magically into ours. Some more interesting banter would have made us feel more loved as an audience, but now I’m just getting greedy. Roll on the Arena tour.

Icky Thump on the Marble Arch

PS Anyone know who is supporting on their UK tour in Autumn?

lochranza’s wildlife, geology and bogs

first, the wildlife…

deer a deer, completely unafraid of us lot. saw this and the next specimen walking along the coast from the lochranza field station.
jellyfish weird jelly fish. i think they are isles of the deep.

caterpillar a baby butterfly. saw this at the end of our 4 hour hike over a boggy hill. photos from that in a bit. chris, if you know what it is, leave a comment for me! (ditto for other stuff of course;)

stags some stags by some people and caravans, pre-fight. suzanne has some actual fight photos…

near the field site

me me me we walked along the coast from the field site yeaterday. i was longing to get on one of the yachts !

chair of rock at last, an armchair! in the rock though, so not so comfy. we ate arran ice cream there, by the ferry terminal at lochranza. sitting with me is chris stopford, who is from mersey island and knows becky cornthwaite (for those of you who went to school with me)!
bethan and simon and look who we found in the pub!i texted bethan as we were driving to lochranza yesterday, and she was waiting for the ferry to get here! to find out about their land’s end to john o’groats trip, see www.teammiracle.co.uk.

bog hiking

valley today we went on a 4ish hour hike up a hill. it was great going up, fair weather and dry rocky paths. this photo was the climax of the trek as it was quite spectacular. the photo doesn’t do it justice as it was rather dull and cloudy at this point. after this, on the way “down” (it involved lots of undulation) it rapidly turned into a bog and the camera went away until absolutely necessary, for fear of slipping over and drowning it.

stream this was near the end where it was less boggy so i took my camera out again . the worst i had was putting my leg into the groud and it sunk nearly to the knee. but suzanne won by falling flat on her back! and i think some others got thigh deep in bog. i have never experienced anything like it, and wouldn’t mind if i never did again i think! on the other hand, the hike was great aside from the bog-ness. there were really nice tiny flowers and plants. apparently some trees grow there that are only found on arran. but we were in such a hurry(needed to be back by 6pm-we were late in the end) that i didn’t have time to stop at take pictures. :-(
well, i’m up at 6.20 tomorrow morning to launch a radiosonde so i’ll be hitting the bunk bed soon. bye!